On Wednesday night, the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association held a satellite meeting to answer producer questions and discuss NCBA’s actions regarding USDA’s recent decision to resume trade with Canada.

NCBA members have expressed concern about the possible resumption of Canadian live cattle imports while many key export markets remained closed to U.S. beef. In addition concerns were expressed over Canada’s feed regulations and enforcement.

NCBA president and Kansas cattle producer Jan Lyons said that members are committed to normalizing global trade based on science that protects the health of the U.S. industry. "Science shows the feed ban breaks the cycle of this disease, and U.S. cattlemen must be confident of Canada’s full compliance with its feed ban. Once the questions concerning Canada’s compliance with its BSE firewalls have been adequately answered, NCBA members will consider their position on the Canadian rule and efforts to reopen the border.” 

Next week USDA is sending a task force to investigate feed control measures. In addition, NCBA is sending a trade team to Canada next week to conduct an evaluation on Canada’s BSE firewalls and inspection processes. The team wants to:

  • Identify the Canadian cattle that would qualify for export under USDA rule and determine the potential economic impact on cattle producers.
  • Inspect feed manufacturers and demand Canadian government officials provide a detailed assessment of feed ban compliance.
  • Inspect border crossings to verify how cattle will be inspected, identified, have their age determined and be approved for entry into the United States.
  • Verify Canadian compliance with BSE firewalls.
  • Clearly determine the blue tongue and anaplasmosis requirements to export feeder cattle to Canada to ensure harmonization of trade.
  • Evaluate Canada’s BSE testing and surveillance program and review all the findings around the recent BSE cases.
  • Address other concerns that may be raised by members.

This team will share its findings with other NCBA members at the Cattle Industry Annual Convention, Feb. 2-5, in San Antonio. The members will use this information to make a decision on whether to delay or move forward on implementation of the rule.

U.S. cattlemen lost $15 per hundredweight ($175/head) on fed cattle prices when our export markets closed as a result of the U.S. Dec. 23, 2003, BSE discovery. U.S. cattlemen deserve to get that $15 per hundredweight back. We have done everything right in the United States to produce safe and wholesome beef for world consumption.